Pets sometimes have accidents inside the house which is not a problem if happens on a hard floor as this can be seen and mopped up quite easily. Of course when they have their little accidents on your lovely area rug it is not always so easy to see let along clean up.
Pet urine, left unattended, can damage rugs in several ways. If the rug has has a secondary backing moisture can weaken the layers allowing separation or delimitation of the backing material. Seamed areas can be particularly damaged and can separate.
Urine especially can be a real problem for fine hand made Oriental, Persian and any area rug really as it will go down on the rug in an acidic state. As the urine dries it will move from an acidic state to an alkaline often, if left too long, results in permanent damage to the dyes and fibres.
In most cases the urine odour in the rug is the real problem. Urine salts/crystals can off gas for up to 5 years and is very unpleasant. The only way to be sure to remove these salts it to have the rug treated with specialist products followed by a thorough wash and flush of the entire rug.
Often our clients are not aware that the rug has been contaminated until it comes in for cleaning as we inspect all rugs with a black light, the urine crystals will fluoresce if present and we will recommend that the rug requires pet urine treatment.